I’m feeling happy and well at the moment and consequently, fat. It’s disquieting. Things have gotten quite comfortable. Not that I’m comfortable, I’m still as angst-ridden as ever, only my body is reflecting my domestic situation which is, in itself, rather healthy.
A friend at a party a few weeks back said,
“Wow, you’re looking healthy.”
I looked at him.
“So basically you’re saying I’m fat.”
You don’t say someone looks healthy unless they’ve put on weight. It’s a terrible insult. If people must make verbal observations you’d much rather they pinched your upper arm with concern and said,
“Are you ok?”
NB this only applies to females. One of my male friends has never forgiven me when I questioned his health after observing his pale and thin demeanour after several months spent locked away in his mother’s house writing screenplays. He still smarts over it. I would have definitely taken it as a compliment.
Anyway, it’s a little scary this health and wellness. I’ve got comfy. Let myself go. Easy to do in remote seaside villages where the most cosmopolitan encounter you’ll have in a day is with Edna from the op shop or one of the countless gents on ride-on motorised vehicles zipping up and down the foreshore. - Hello! - Lovely day! - Watch those magpies! - Where you can easily slink around in your pregnancy jeans and same-old crap t-shirt for days on end without the faintest care or recognition that you are even being seen.
I’ve basically disappeared. I really couldn’t draw myself. If I tried with crayons it would just be a faint cloud of pink. A blur. Not really there. That’s the thing about being well - neither thin nor fat – you feel all en par with life. What’s there to define you? How are you supposed to feel alive?
I might like my angst body back, the one that belonged to the person who wasn’t living quite so comfortably. The slightly miserable one. I wonder if I could have the misery body while continuing with the comfortable life feeling. You probably have to choose one or the other. Before when I was on my angsty quest for happiness the edges of me were much sharper. When I went to bed at night I could feel my skin against my bones and that was tops. I felt alive. Hungry for the thing. Would tomorrow bring it? I was definitely not happy, and that was great. I was ravenous for the thing I was looking for. So clothes hung off my frame in that great rangy way – I could just throw something on the frame and run out the door without bothering to think of corsetry or hang, bulge or muffintop. It was excellent. I was free.
And then, now, comfort, and by that I don’t at all mean that I’m comfortable within the comfort, it’s just that feeling of choosing to eat the biggest fattest cheesiest lasagne for dinner whilst watching Colbert in track-suit pants instead of shoving tuna from a can into your mouth for pure fuel purposes on your way out the door wearing a black sequined micro-mini that barely covers your butt. As a side note, god bless country Australia for making track-suit pants a three-course fashion statement – breakfast track-suit, lunch track-suit, dinner track-suit. So versatile – why buy anything else? Comfort. You’d thousandfold rather eat that lasagne in track-suit pants than have the bliss of waking the next day and squeezing into the skinny jeans – in fact if you were honest and searched way way down you really don’t care all that much about getting into the skinny jeans at all and that is a deeply shocking realisation. You really don’t care that much any more about how you’re perceived. Even by yourself. So who then, are you? It’s as though you’re looking from the inside out suddenly, rather than the outside-in. You’re Jabba. Jabba doesn’t care that his Vanessa Bruno spring frock doesn’t hang any more. He’s looking out. It makes him powerful.
Actually Jabba is a bad example because he’s so fat he is something. He’s gone all the way in the other direction which effectively is similar to the thin model. I’m talking about just being well, which is more nothing. It’s sort of, well, just normal. Average. Un-extreme. Weird.
I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t know where my power lies. It always used to come from the feeling of the edges – knowing myself, my shape, my silhouette – I may not have had a clue who I was, but at least I had that. I remember when I was in Grade Four I went through a period where I decided to eat nothing at all and see what happened. It was such a great feeling to push myself right to the edge and see where that led. I could really feel my outline so clearly, so defined, I was human, I had control, I was alive. My inside pushed against the skin of me, it was great. I was really, really here, present. It felt great to say No when the plate of choc-chip bickies was passed around and to see everyone’s shocked faces. That feeling of definition – putting myself in relief with the world around me – far outweighed the joy of that goddamned delicious buttery cookie. Plus, I got some fantastic attention, especially from Mum, who panicked. It was my life and I wanted to feel it. And I did. And I never lost that feeling. Though I did start eating chocolate bickies again.
This is a sort of letting go of that need to pull against the grain, a push in the other direction, right through the terrifying centre of normal. How far can I go inside of it? Can I find a way to feel myself inside of it? What could that mean? Is there a way that I can live it and still find a way to have lines? Maybe there are new ones to be found inside that place.